When you think of Shoreditch, you probably don’t think of snowboarding. If you’re being honest, what probably comes to mind is something more like this. However, last night the hottest ticket in town wasn’t for some painfully hip bar/art installation/warehouse rave, but rather O’Neill’s Shoreditch Showdown rail jam.
Fifty tonnes of snow had been trucked in to the famous Red Market before being meticulously shaped by the Hemel crew. We’d seen the plans for the setup ahead of time, and the guys had made sure that the real thing didn’t disappoint; a classic stairset given a London twist with the addition of bus shelter, lamp posts, phone booth, letterbox and double-decker bus. As the crowd got involved with the gourmet food stalls and full bar, the riders – twelve of the finest jibbers in the UK, alongside some two-plankers – got to work.
MCs Scott Penman and Christian Stevenson had their work cut out for them, as the relentless onslaught of techy tricks showed no signs of abating. Those iconic London features got the full treatment right from the off; there was Angus Leith’s phone booth 360 nose tap, Sparrow Knox’s handplant on the postbox, and various folk bomb-dropping the bus stop. Special mention goes to Jamie Trinder for his frontflip to 5050 on the box, and Andy Nudds gapping to the downrail with a huge frontside 270 to frontside boardslide. Mental.
The field was then cut down to four: Ollie Dutton and Nuddsy in the decider for third place, with Sparrow and John Weatherly going for gold.
With only one run left, Ollie and Nuddsy went for broke, but only Ollie managed to stick his run and so the podium place was his. Sparrow and John both bailed on the first of their two final runs, and there wasn’t a great deal separating their second, but it was Sparrow’s smooth front 270 to front board on the donkey dick rail that walked away with the plaudits.
Of course, no rail jam these days is without its after-party, so it was on to the Bar Music Hall round the corner for beers, cocktails (including the ‘Whitelines Whiteout’), live tunes and a chance to warm up on what was a chilly November night. That cold is a good sign, though, and with any luck the streets will be covered in the real stuff soon – perhaps snowboarding will be East London’s next big thing after all?